EPA Requires Sims Metal Management to Comply with Clean Water Act

EPA Requires Sims Metal Management to Comply with Clean Water Act

EPA says its inspection found PCBs, mercury, lead and copper were discharged from Redwood City, Calif., facility.

January 10, 2012
Recycling Today Staff
Ferrous Legislation & Regulations Nonferrous Auto Shredding

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has ordered Sims Metal Management (SMM), located at the Port of Redwood City, Calif., to comply with  SMM's Port of Redwood City, Calif., facility.  federal Clean Water Act laws following inspections during which the EPA says it found evidence of unlawful discharges of PCBs, mercury, lead, copper and zinc into San Francisco Bay.

According to the EPA, SMM’s South Bay facility is home to one of the largest auto shredders in the San Francisco Bay Area.

Records provided by the Port of Redwood City indicate that from July 2010 to June 2011, 20 large vessels picked up and transported an average of 22,000 tons of shredded material from SMM’s facility to be shipped to offshore buyers. The largest transport was 35,000 tons.

In a news release, Jared Blumenfeld, EPA regional administrator for the Pacific Southwest, says, “The EPA is committed to protecting the Bay by ensuring compliance with environmental permits. Companies such as Sims Metal Management, which engaged in recycling our finite resources, must abide by the Clean Water Act."

In March 2011, EPA reports taht it inspected SMM’s facility to determine compliance with the company’s Industrial Storm Water Permit. During the inspection, enforcement officers say they found evidence at the facility’s shipping and rail receiving areas that pollutants had been discharged to Redwood Creek, a direct tributary to San Francisco Bay.

EPA says it again inspected the facility in August 2011, taking samples of debris and soils in the areas that flow to San Francisco Bay, where the facility conducts shipping and receiving activities. Sample results demonstrated elevated PCBs, mercury, lead, copper and zinc, according to the EPA.

SMM acknowledged receiving the U.S. EPA order Dec. 21, 2011. The company was required to submit a revised stormwater pollution prevention plan and update monitoring and sampling within 30 days of the order. The EPA also required SMM to develop and implement storm water pollution counter measures.

The company was given 90 days to develop and submit a plan to eliminate the discharges to Redwood Creek within one year. SMM also must sample stormwater discharges monthly throughout the winter and spring; revise itsstormwater pollution prevention plan to update monitoring and sampling; and develop and implement stormwater pollution counter measures for all areas of activity. The company is working with the EPA to address these requirements.